by Kalyn Oyer
Boaters beware: O.A.R. is not something you can use to row. Instead, these rockers from Rockville, Md., go by the initials of their real name, "Of a Revolution," and they're paddling back to a now familiar venue, the Family Circle Cup Stadium, as part of their Sounds of Summer tour.
The band's history goes way back to their pre-teen days, when four of the five members attended the same middle school and high school in Rockville. "Our school was small, so everyone knew what kids played what — I was one of maybe two guitar players," says Richard On, O.A.R.'s lead guitarist, who actually started out playing piano at age 4 before he traded in the keys for strings. The first show the group had together was an eighth grade talent show, before they eventually attended Ohio State together and met bass player Benji Gershman.
The band name was birthed back in middle school though, based around a short story lead vocalist Marc Roberge wrote. In the tale, apparently there was one line that stood out to the group of friends: ______ of a revolution. They won't spill on what word preceded the phrase. "To this day, I think we are the only ones who know what that word was. It's still a secret," On says mischievously. "Back then, it was a revolution just for the four of us, for ourselves."
The glory days of college brought more exposure for the band, though they never did any formal advertising or marketing. "Our intentions were to go to university and graduate. We did the school thing and the band thing side by side, until the band thing started taking up more of our time," says On.
After a long journey that's still going strong, Of A Revolution has gone platinum and gold, and their eighth album is currently under construction. "The thing I'm looking most forward to is the new record we are creating," On says. "We started this year but aren't in any rush. I think that's the beauty about this recording process. There's no pressure. When it comes out, we are going to be really happy because of the time we are taking."
The band will perform some of its new songs during their show at the Family Circle Cup Stadium. O.A.R. is keyed up to be back at the familiar tennis courts, where they jammed back in 2010 and 2011. "We love it there, because we also get to goof around and play tennis," On laughs.